Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren officially announced her candidacy for presidency in 2020 Saturday morning in Lawrence, Mass. The site of her announcement was at the Everett Mill, where workers led the “Bread and Roses” strike in 1912 after their pay was cut. She was introduced and endorsed by Representative Joe Kennedy III.
Warren began her speech recounting the history of the mill, specifically citing that the strikes held in Lawrence were led by women—many of whom were immigrants and needed to translate their ideas for the strike into multiple languages to unite the English, Irish, Syrian, and Slavic workers.
Their work led to higher wages, overtime, and everyone returning to work, Warren said. Massachusetts was also the first state in the United States to institute a minimum wage a few months after the strike.
“The story of Lawrence is a story about how real change happens in America,” Warren said. “It’s a story about power — our power — when we fight together.”
Working-class people are still at the hands of the wealthy and well-connected, she said. Warren called out President Donald Trump as an example of this, calling him a “symptom of what’s gone wrong in America.”
Her goals for her presidency would fall under three general categories, she said: cleaning up Washington, changing the structure of the economy, and “chang[ing] the rules” to strengthen the United States’ democracy.
First, stopping corruption in Washington will be a priority, she said, since Trump’s administration is the most corrupt in living memory.
She listed some of the things she would institute economically as president, including stopping tax cuts for the wealthy, investing in the future of children, and spending money on infrastructure and the Green New Deal. She mentioned tax reform, specifically saying that the rich would have to “start doing their part.”
As for strengthening the democracy, she said she would work to protect the voting rights of every U.S. citizen by overturning rules that unfairly target people of color, partisan gerrymandering, and overturning Citizens United, a Supreme Court case that ruled that the government cannot stop corporations from spending money to support or denounce candidates.
The country needs a large structural change in order to make the American dream actually work for everyone, Warren said. She described her own middle class background growing up in Oklahoma. Her father had a heart attack leaving him unable to work when she was young, but her mother was able to get a minimum wage answering phones at Sears to support their family.
She said that her own ability to become a teacher, lawyer, and senator has shown her that there can be social mobility in America.
“So here is the promise I make to you today,” she said. “I will fight my heart out so that every kid in America can have the same opportunity I had — a fighting chance to build something real.”
The Democrat has come under fire in the past year for how she has categorized her ancestry and background in the past. She issued an apology to the chief of the Cherokee Nation this week for claiming American Indian heritage.
She had recently released a video of herself getting a DNA test that said she was part American Indian, and it was received with criticism by opponents and supporters alike. Warren didn’t address her apology in her speech Saturday morning.
Featured Image Courtesy of Elizabeth Warren 2020